Project update…


Its hard to believe but this week marks our one year anniversary of living in our house! We moved out of the casita and into the main house about two days before Pat (my mother in law) came for her first visit this time last year. Boy, so much has gone on since then. We’ve still got lots going on, but little by little things continue to get done.

I know, you want to know, “When do you think it will be done?”…Pfffffffft! Silly you! Done? Well, I think at this point our big project has turned into Scotts hobby. Now that we are comfortably (well, sorta comfortably! hah!) living in the house he gets to move into doing all the fun things that he really enjoys doing. Things like finishing up the granite fabrication, starting wood working projects (lots of cabinets!), finishing off his outdoor kitchen, the pizza oven and massive smoker! We have other , maybe not so fun things that also need finishing like the roof on our car port, Three glass sliding doors on the terrace and the big kitchen window over the sink will be a wonderful thing to have done one day! And welding up the railings on our terrace also we have plans to build three bridges over our creek in different areas of our property. The tile on the terrace floor will have to be finished and OH! Lets not forget my art studio which is also a studio apartment we have on the end of his workshop. It is currently full of wood! ugh! One of these days this studio will make a fantastic guest room for all the people who have not been to visit us! (Wink, wink!)

The most fun for me has been the start of planting in our front yard. I’ve been working on creating pathways throughout different areas of our property, “organized chaos” is how I like to describe my style of gardening for most of our property. We just love the feel of what mother nature has already done, we just want to make it easier to walk around and admire it all. But, walking out the front door its a clean slate. We brought in tons of new dirt and are creating planting areas with boulders we have collected from different areas of our property. We’ve chosen some beautiful trees to plant and Im slowly finding different types of plants that will help me to create an area where we can cut flowers to bring in the house. And, I want to have plenty of things that attract butterflies and hummingbirds!

Our outdoor shower has to be one of my favorite features of our house! Its 90% finished and even though I can’t use it during the day when the workers are here, I just love it! That area of our garden behind the outdoor shower is under way but really doesn’t give us as much privacy as I would like to have quite yet. But I’ve planted some plants that should grow up in no time at all and provide a nice wall of greenery. You see…we have a path that our workers like to use which comes up very near the outdoor shower. And this last few weeks we’ve had Federico and Chombo up on the roof installing the terra cotta tiles so, ahem, this really is not the best thing for privacy either! hah! But, the thing Im so in love with about the outdoor shower is that I’ve been able to create my own little secret garden in there and its just such a dreamy little space. Who ever thought I’d have an actual garden in my shower! The 10% that isnt finished is the glass that goes up on the top of the wall. This will create a wind screen so that when those crazy Boquete Winds come howling through we won’t get blown away. Yet another project for Scott to complete! The glass is sitting in his workshop waiting to be installed….

A very exciting milestone has been finally receiving our Occupancy permit from the city! Can you say..”Whoot! Whoot!”. Now, this may not sound especially exciting to you, but let me tell you why its such a relief to finally have our hands on this valuable piece of paper. Ya see, not only is it a huge relief to have inspections all done, no more wondering what hoops they will make us jump through, but it gives us the ability to finally get PERMANENT electricity. The local power company had only given us what they call ‘provisional’ power. Which means every three months we had to go jump through a ton of hoops to “RE-APPLY” for this ‘provisional’ power! ugh! What a pain in the ass this was. So, now we are official! Yup! Well, at least we think we are official! hah! One never really knows for sure because all along the way in this project there is no one telling us what the rules and requirements are.

Mind you, building a house in California was no cake walk. But we had the advantage of speaking the language and they actually had a clear, set of rules and steps which meant we knew exactly what bullshit we were up against. One thing about living in Panama that we have learned is that rules and guidelines change and its hard to know from day to day what the person in charge in any particular government office will decide to require. There may not be nearly the amount of rules that we had in California but figuring out what they want has been a pretty confusing and frustrating thing at times. Luckily Scott has an amazing amount of patience and he understands that getting angry and belligerent will get you no where here. As a matter of fact I think, even though I may sound as if Im complaining about our house building experience, Its gone much more smoothly and, yes, I think even less of a nightmare than it was in California. I mean, its our own fault that we don’t speak the local language fluently and have felt at a loss at times.

So, permit, inspections and general hoop jumping is in our past…ahem…we think. We’re down to only two employees and our full time gardener which is so much better then 10 guys up here working everyday! I think that just about covers the update on our project, next post I’ll tell you all about what’s been keeping me busy and so happy these days!


About hollycarter184

Life is Good! But it's time for a change, and more adventure! I'd like to share the whole experience of preparing then actually making a reality of expatriating, and moving to a new country. It's an exciting, and slightly scary move full of possibility . I'm looking forward to learning a new language and making new connections with the people who share our spirit of adventure. This blog is my way of continuing my connection with my friends and family in the States. Sooooo here it goes! :)

13 responses »

  1. Well, Holly—I have to say I am SUPER impressed with your pictures of your home and gardens—Well done!!! So very happy for you and Scott and your very lucky mother-in-law who gets to share in all of this with you. May God bless you as you continue your life in this beautiful place.

  2. Holly, you’ve created a beautiful slice of paradise for yourselves in paradise. I especially love your private shower area- it’s definitely you! Congrats! Brigit

  3. Holly your outdoor showere is heavenly. Have a garden in it has to make you so relaxed and at peace when you are in it 😊. Love, love your outdoor gardens so beautiful. Dad is so proud of you and Scott. All I can say is you had to get your love for gardening for your dad because I HATE to work outside. πŸ˜‚. That was his joy to plant things to watch them grow up and be joy for him. Don’t get me wrong I love the beauty of them I just didn’t like the work to put them together 😁

  4. Holly your home and gardens are lovely!!! What a difference three years make! It is three years, right?? I have a question tho… Do you have an indoor shower as well? Is that a dumb question? Miss you!!

    • Oh Judy…you crack me up! Yes, we have an indoor shower in our guest room, but the weather here is pretty much year around springtime so not much need to resort to using it. The only time I really dont want to use the outdoor shower is when the winds are howling, although when Scott installs the glass at the top of the wall it will protect us from that. Its heavenly to shower outdoors!

      • Oh, don’t get me wrong! I think it’s wonderful! We stayed in a hotel in Bali that had an outdoor shower and loved it! I was just wondering if that was the only one. But I guess that wouldn’t make sense for guests, would it? I also didn’t realize it never really gets cold there…. And your gardens are so pretty! You’ve really done a great job with your architectural landscaping…. That is a special talent!

  5. Use your outdoor shower while the contractors are there .. you’ll probably get some additional discounts … but it will take them twice as long. Did you lay the walkway pavers yourselves or did the contractors do it? Either way nice fit of the stones. It’s really pretty back there. I am so excited, I booked my first Boquete trip for mid-June to determine if I might like living there. Maybe you guys will be 100% done with your house by then (has anybody ever reached that point?) and will be looking for a new project to keep yourselves busy .. you’ll be experts by then!

  6. What a wonderful home you have created, Scott must be so proud and of course it will be perfectly finished he really is amazing with his skill sets. The gardens are beautiful and outdoor shower is magnificent. Would love to see interiors as I know your flair for design will be fabulous.

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